To our neighbors in North Denver:
My name is Sara Carlson and I am the principal of Rocky Mountain Prep Berkeley (RMP Berkeley). RMP Berkeley is a Pre-K through 5th grade public charter school that will be opening in your neighborhood this August. I am honored by and excited about the work we will do together in our community and wanted to take this opportunity to share my vision for the school, invite you into conversations over the next few months, and introduce you to Rocky Mountain Prep, truly a unique and inclusive network of charter schools.
First, allow me to tell you a bit about myself. I was born in South America to a Peruvian mother and an American father. They met while collaborating on reforestation work in the Andes of Peru. We moved to rural western North Carolina when I was young, and we lived there until I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Being the only Latina in my rural community school, I was blessed with a collaborative education experience in which my parents and my teachers worked hand in hand to give me the education I needed to become a successful citizen.
Upon graduating, I had the honor of working as a bilingual, second-grade literacy teacher in southwest Denver, where I fell in love with Denver and Denver’s kids. I joined Rocky Mountain Prep Creekside in its inaugural year, teaching first and second grade before becoming the school’s assistant principal. This will be my 8th year working in Denver schools as a teacher, administrator, and now principal.
I’m excited to lead Rocky Mountain Prep Berkeley because I believe our schools continue to hone the craft of simultaneously challenging and nurturing our students. We deeply believe in the power of our students and know that it is our responsibility to love them and deeply challenge them to empower their voices as future leaders of our community. We therefore work hard to ensure we’re challenging all our students every day with high-quality curriculum so that they stretch and grow through engaging in hard work. At the same time, we place the highest value on ensuring that our students can rise to any challenge because they feel safe to take risks, they are loved, and they are welcomed regardless of background.
Our teachers develop strong, trusting relationships with our students, and as a direct result, RMP students are among the highest performing in Denver. We believe that spending the time to build strong relationships with our students and families motivates students to try their hardest, and to overcome the frustrations that inevitably arise in any learning environment.
Love and challenge are two parts of the same whole at Rocky Mountain Prep and can’t exist independent of one another.
In short, we believe love drives deep learning.
When we think about our students’ futures, we see them as the next generation of entrepreneurs, inventors, cutting-edge thinkers. That’s who we strive to develop: tomorrow’s leaders.
We also believe deep learning occurs most readily in a diverse environment. That’s one of the many reasons I am so excited to be opening a Rocky Mountain Prep school in North Denver. We have a great opportunity here to create a truly diverse, inclusive school, where children of all cultures and backgrounds are valued, and where we believe that our differences are what make our community stronger.
Our great neighborhood school will feature affordable, all-day early childhood education for four-year-olds and free full-day kindergarten. All students in K- 5th grade will have science class every day, another special offering that a steering committee of parents will help determine, and consistent college-ready work with a common-core aligned curriculum.
I look forward to getting to know many of you and welcoming many new students to our school this summer.
There is so much more I’d like to discuss with you. I hope we can meet in person soon, and open a stimulating dialogue.
Yours in learning,
Principal, RMP Berkeley